Synthetic cat pheromone-based products are safe for use around kitties, if used according to the manufacturer's directions. These products help to calm your frazzled feline in stressful situations, discouraging inappropriate urination and antisocial, nervous or aggressive behaviors. Consult with your vet before using these products with your kitty.
What are Pheromones?
Kitties produce pheromones naturally and release them through their scent glands. Your kitty has these glands on her face around her cheeks and chin. When our feline friends rub their faces on both people and objects in their environment, they transfer these scent chemicals to them, marking them as "safe" for future reference. While humans can't smell these pheromones, kitties can and when they later smell them, they feel comforted at the familiar scent. It's the scent of these natural, calming pheromones that the synthetic pheromone products mimic. When your kitty smells the synthetic pheromones, they have the same effect as natural ones -- to calm and reassure him.
Pheromone products come in many types, including sprays, diffusers and pheromone-infused collars. When used correctly, these products are not only safe to use around your kitties, but people and other pets as well. Use them inside her pet carrier or around your home on your kitty's bedding and at cat-level on your drapes, carpets and furniture. Allow the substance to dry on any objects you spray with it for 20 minutes before your furry friend has contact with them. This way she won't accidentally ingest it while grooming if her fur rubs up against the wet spray. Pheromone sprays contains alcohol as a base, which is toxic in any form to kitties, according to Veterinary Partner. For this same reason, never spray the pheromones directly on the kitty, warns the Comfort Zone website, a manufacturer of kitty pheromone sprays. In terms of using pheromone diffusers, only plug them into properly working outlets to prevent electrical sparks or fires.
Smelling, Not Eating
Pheromone products are strictly for use in your kitty's environment so that your stressed-out feline inhales the products to obtain the calming properties they offer her. Never allow your furry friend to ingest the products, as they are not intended for this purpose and can be unsafe if used in such a way. The sprays contain alcohol and the diffuser refills contain paraffin-based mineral oils, which are not designed for ingestion. If your kitty does, somehow, ingest these chemicals, consult with your vet right away to prevent any toxic effects or stomach upset for your furry friend.
When to Use
Use synthetic feline pheromone products with kitties who are having behavioral problems like aggression, shyness and inappropriate elimination. If your kitty is going potty outside the litter box, target these locations with the pheromone spray or place a diffuser in these areas. Kitties generally don't eliminate in areas that smell like comforting pheromones. For this reason, you shouldn't use the pheromone sprays directly in or around your kitty's litter box because it will only confuse and possibly distress her, recommends VetInfo.
Ask the Vet
Before using any substances, even safe, over-the-counter ones with your kitty, consult with your vet on how to properly use pheromone products with your furry buddy. He can also give you some recommendations about ways to alleviate any behavioral issues that your kitty may be experiencing. In certain cases, he may recommend the use of prescription drugs to deal with serious behavioral issues, rather than simply pheromone-based products. You may still use these products along with prescription medications safely though, without the risk of dangerous interactions because your kitty doesn't ingest them.
- WebMD: Pet Behavior Problems: Can Pheromones Help?
- Feliway: What is Pheromonatherapy?
- Feliway: Frequently Asked Questions -- Feliway and Pheromones
- Time Magazine: Kitty Prozac: Can Synthetic Pheromones Calm Your Pet?
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Feline Pheromones and Pheromonatherapy
- PLoS One: A Meta-Analysis of Studies of Treatments for Feline Urine Spraying
- PetPlace.com: Pheromone Sprays for Cats
- VetInfo: Reducing Feline Anxiety with Cat Pheromone Sprays
- ASPCA: Urine Marking in Cats
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.